During the Civil War, North Carolina suffered the greatest loss of life, the most casualties, than any other Southern state. As a result, during Reconstruction, the State was devastated. The population of widows and orphans boomed across the State, and the only relief and assistance was to pick yourself up and keep on going. There was, however, very little, if any, assistance for most citizens from the State government. Widows and children now tended the farm, since agriculture dominated the State, and the boys became men and the girls became women. The wounded, including mentally disabled from the scars of Civil War, were an additional crisis for the State of North Carolina. Subsequently, insane asylums were created across the State. The Tar Heels, as they were known, gradually recovered through the same "grit and stickability of their forefathers."
Road to Secession
"In the agitation that pervaded the South previous to secession, North Carolina preserved its usual conservative calmness of action."
But after the newly-elected President's Springfield speech, after the widespread belief that the Federal government had attempted to reinforce Fort Sumter in the face of a promise to evacuate it, and especially after President Lincoln's requisition on the governor to furnish troops (Governor John Willis Ellis: A Reply to President Lincoln) for what Governor Magoffin, of Kentucky, called "the wicked purpose of subduing sister Southern States," -- a requisition that, Governor Jackson, of Missouri, in a superflux of unlethargic adjectives, denounced as "illegal, unconstitutional, revolutionary, inhuman, diabolical" -- there was a rapid change in the feelings of the people of North Carolina. Strong union sentiment was changed to a fixed determination to resist coercion by arms if necessary. So rapid was the movement of public events, and so rapid was the revolution in public sentiment, that "just three months after the State had refused even to consider the question of secession, a convention composed of almost entirely of men who thought it was the imperative duty of their State to withdraw from the Union was in secession in Raleigh." (Southern States Secede: Secession of the South History.)
AN ORDINANCE TO DISSOLVE THE UNION BETWEEN THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA AND THE OTHER STATES UNITED WITH HER UNDER THE COMPACT OF GOVERNMENT ENTITLED THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES.
In an effort to alleviate the state of affairs at the opening of 1864, a force of magnitude was sent to North Carolina. General George Pickett, a well-known soldier of great zeal and valor, with a division of troops, advanced to the State to assist the forces already there.